6th September is just a date…meaning nothing to most people! In our house it meant it was our wedding anniversary but it also meant it was Electric Picnic weekend.
From the time I met my husband I knew this was a date in the calendar that would be circled and highlighted and come hell or high water (or wedding anniversaries) it would be attended! Luckily the year we married E.P. was the weekend before our wedding…now that I think of it, how very coincidental it didn’t fall on the same weekend…hmmm
The Electric Picnic excitement usually starts around this time of the year when the early bird tickets go on sale…so for one year in advance I knew I would be celebrating alone (cue the sad music!)
So as this was, and always will be an annual event for my husband who has the organisation down to military precision, there were 2 options – I could go and be miserable celebrating my anniversary, hence making him miserable, or I could do what I do every single year and head off for a really nice weekend break. Don’t get me wrong sometimes the F.O.M.O. crosses my mind as I overhear the phone-calls and planning as the excitement builds…but then reality hits me one week in advance as our house turns into a preparation camp for the weekend – tents, wellies, rain-coats, beer, water and toilet rolls are stacked up (messing up the place) bringing me back to a harsh reality of what lies ahead of him, and as for the thoughts of the bags of laundry returning…well enough said! So to all you music revellers, I salute you…the great unwashed of Electric Picnic…but it’s just not for me!
With him packed off and me packed up (1 suitcase, 1 shoe-case and 2 hangers of clothes) my happy little head, along with my pal were en route to Cavan for my Electric Picnic weekend which involved electric showers, hair-dryers and ghds and picnicing on the yummiest food, wine and cocktails in the comfort of a luxurious hotel. My hotel of choice was the stunning Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel.
This has not been my first time here, in actual fact it’s my third time to visit this magnificent hotel hidden in a scenic forested area just a few kilometres outside Cavan town. Cavan is very accessible to all, located a little bit north of the centre of the country – from the midlands/west/south take the N55, and anyone from the east coast/Dublin you are lucky to have the M3 motorway and then jump onto the N3.
You know from when you enter the gates, you are in for something special as you drive through the beautiful walled estate to arrive up to a breath-taking building where old meets new.
We whizzed up to the door to unload and then went to check in. The receptionist was so welcoming and friendly and even offered for someone to park the car for me – we quickly declined as we had more bags to bring in and it was kinda embarrassing for a 2 night check-in that we had so much luggage! The car park is located back down the hill and there is shuttle bus running up and down picking up guests, but we decided to walk as it was a beautiful day.
Our room was 138 and it was amazing. (I have since found out this was a standard room – I honestly thought it was one of their superior rooms). It was a spacious twin room on the ground floor with double doors opening out to a seating area with a table and chairs overlooking the beautiful Cavan scenery. The beds were so comfy and we just sunk onto them for a little rest to decide upon our plan of action – I know from working in hotels I used to write room descriptions about ‘double sprung or 1000 pocket-sprung mattresses, with generous layers of fillings, covered in a hand tufted cool touch fabric blah, blah, blah’, but who actually rings up hotels and asks about the mattress springs? Let me just tell you these beds are SO COMFORTABLE (We had no opportunity to count the springs!). There was a most unusual feature in our room – a wooden hatch window between the bathroom and bedroom – I suppose guests can have a chat while one is in the in the bath or on the toilet (heaven forbid) and the other is in the bedroom?! Take note those planning a romantic break!! We did not require this hatch during our stay but I am sure some do! The shower was fab with an amazing rain shower head and the bathroom was stocked with really well sized amenities such as shower gels, body lotions etc, fluffy towels and of course lots of bottled water which is always a necessity for the morning-after, if you have indulged in a few too many glasses of vino!
I forgot in all my awe to take a photo of the bedroom, but our room was identical to the one in the photo below, except with twin beds.
We took a long walk then around some of the forested trails which are all well signed and one of them took us right down to a lake where they have a really nice seating area. It was back to the hotel then where we hit the bar to watch a G.A.A. match (Mayo vs Dublin…yes there is a huge G.A.A. fan inside this little lady!) There was a great mix of guests here – spa goers, golf groups and couples so the banter was mighty!
Back to the room then for a quick change and off we went for dinner to The Botanica Restaurant. I chose this most amazing seafood starter (pictured) with monk-fish to follow for my main course – there was no room for dessert, but plenty of space for wine! It was back then to one of my favourite hotel bars in the country, The Wine Goose Bar, an underground cellar bar with all its little nooks and cosy corners so we parked up for a night of chatting and there was a lively 2 piece band playing in the background – I spied Electric Picnic on the TV behind the band and as I sat back with my glass of pinot grigio, I realised I had absolutely no desire at all to be there!
Next day it was breakfast and the ‘super buffet’ breakfast that Radisson Blu Hotels are famed for was definitely super in a very relaxed atmosphere – the breakfast room was packed to capacity both mornings but the food was plentiful and service excellent.
After another short trek through the grounds (to walk off the breakfast), we had a good nosey around the old rooms in the original part of the hotel to take a few photos. Next on the agenda was the spa.
The highlight of this hotel for me is the Health Spa…it is, without a doubt, one of the best in Ireland.
All guests have complimentary use of the thermal area which has steam rooms, salt inhalation, snail showers, a Finnish sauna, laconium and various foot therapy treatments. The indoor/outdoor infinity hydrotherapy pool is just unreal – you can swim from an indoor pool to an outside pool which also has lots of water features and sure while you are there you can count the cows in the local fields! Ironically enough you actually feel really warm in the water even though the temperature that weekend wasn’t Marbella-like!
We both chose the Coconut Melt Full Body Massage (thanks to my hubby) and it was so just relaxing and we both agreed both therapists were excellent. We met up again in the relaxation suite where we were given herbal teas. All the latest edition glossy magazines were in place to keep us entertained as we were in the ‘rested zone’ so yapping was limited!
While we were there, I did have some sneaky chats to numerous mums-to-be who said the spa offered a variety of treatments specifically for during pregnancy, so it’s a really nice treat to consider if you are expecting a baby.
The therapist suggested drinking lots of water after our treatment so we did that (a glass at least!). We did also have a lovely snipe of prosecco too, after all it was my wedding anniversary! We sat outside the main bar where they have a gorgeous outside seating area – it felt like we were abroad on our holliers in these surroundings! Then it was time to get glammed up again and off we went to The Wine Goose Cellar Bar for a scrummy dinner followed by a delicious cocktail to end our Electric Picnic weekend…
I really can’t say enough about my stay here (I could’ve written a book, not a blog post!) A huge mention to the staff here – I can honestly say every single staff member we met were so friendly and efficient and the lovely Aisling who we met on day one was an absolute gem and always had a nice word for us. Thanks Aisling – we were the ‘Pinot Grigio Girls’ (if you are reading this!)
You know this time of year is a brilliant time to book hotels as they offer discounted off-peak season deals and brilliant midweek offers too. If you want to park the car up and come home totally relaxed, this is definitely the hotel you need to book! I needed all the R&R for the amount of Electric Picnic washing I was faced with on my return! T x
For full info: Log onto the hotel’s website here
For anyone thinking of getting married I did a quick recce…
Why wed here?
– Stunning grounds for photos – wooden swings, lake, forested areas, backdrop of old house
– Bridal Suite – just out of this world!
– Inside rooms for photography in the old house has stunning backdrops of fireplaces, mirrors and furniture and there is a very unusual staircase
– Separate/private area for weddings banquet and arrival drinks
– Food is amazing so I can only assume the banqueting food is equally as good
– Staff are so friendly and welcoming and that was a big plus for this hotel
For full info: Log onto the hotel’s website here